The latest available country-specific data shows that 68.8% of products exported from Pakistan were bought by importers in: United States (18.6% of the global total), China (8.4%), United Kingdom (7.8%), Germany (6.3%), United Arab Emirates (4.9%), Netherlands (also 4.9%), Afghanistan (3.9%), Spain (3.6%), Italy (3.2%), Bangladesh (2.6%), Belgium (also 2.6%) and Saudi Arabia (1.9%).
From a continental perspective, 37.1% of Pakistan’s exports by value were delivered to European countries while 34% were sold to importers in Asia. Pakistan shipped another 20.2% worth of goods to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (6.3%), Oceania led by Australia (1.24%) then Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (1.18%).
Given Pakistan’s population of 208.6 million people, its total $22.2 billion in 2020 exports translates to an estimated $100 for every resident in the densely-populated South Asian nation.
Pakistan’s Top 10 Exports
The following export product groups categorize the highest dollar value in Pakistani global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Pakistan.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$4.3 billion (19.2% of total exports)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3.1 billion (13.8%)
- Cotton: $2.6 billion (11.9%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.6 billion (11.8%)
- Cereals: $2.1 billion (9.5%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $583.4 million (2.6%)
- Copper: $435.3 million (2%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $423 million (1.9%)
- Fruits, nuts: $418.6 million (1.9%)
- Optical, technical, medical apparatus: $380.5 million (1.7%)
Pakistan’s top 10 exports accounted for 76.3% of the overall value of its global shipments.
Copper was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 22.7% from 2019 to 2020. Export sales for miscellaneous textiles and worn clothing increased 5% as did the fruits and nuts category.
The leading decliner among Pakistan’s top 10 export categories was cotton thanks to its -18.7% drop year over year.
Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.
The following types of Pakistani product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.
In a nutshell, net exports represent the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.
- Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: US$4 billion (Up by 5.7% since 2019)
- Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $3 billion (Up by 1.5%)
- Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $2.6 billion (Down by -6.5%)
- Cereals: $1.4 billion (Down by -40.2%)
- Cotton: $1.2 billion (Down by -48.3%)
- Leather/animal gut articles: $565.9 million (Down by -6.7%)
- Fish: $366.6 million (Down by -21.2%)
- Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $341.2 million (Up by 7.4%)
- Salt, sulphur, stone, cement: $314.4 million (Up by 5.5%)
- Meat: $309.3 million (Up by 6.5%)
Pakistan has highly positive net exports in the international trade of clothing-related products. In turn, these cashflows indicate Pakistan’s strong competitive advantages under various clothing-related categories.
Overall Pakistan incurred a -$23.5 billion trade deficit during 2020, down by -10.6% from -$26.3 billion in red ink one year earlier.
Below are exports from Pakistan that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country Pakistan’s goods trail Pakistani importer spending on foreign products.
- Mineral fuels including oil: -US$10.1 billion (Down by -27.9% since 2019)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: -$4.4 billion (Up by 4.5%)
- Machinery including computers: -$3.9 billion (Down by -11.9%)
- Iron, steel: -$3.1 billion (Up by 0.8%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$2.2 billion (Up by 16.4%)
- Organic chemicals: -$2.1 billion (Down by -10.2%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: -$1.8 billion (Down by -1.7%)
- Vehicles: -$1.4 billion (Down by -1.8%)
- Oil seeds: -$1.2 billion (Up by 4.7%)
- Other chemical goods: -$836.5 million (Up by 13.4%)
Pakistan has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels including oil particularly red ink for refined petroleum oils, petroleum gases as well as crude oil.
Pakistani Export Companies
Based on Forbes Global 2000 rankings, the following are examples of world-class Pakistani companies.
- Oil & Gas Development (petroleum operations)
- Pakistan State Oil (petroleum operations)
Wikipedia also lists businesses headquartered in Pakistan that export their products. Selected examples are shown below.
- Dalda (vegetable oil)
- Engro Corporation (fertilizers, petrochemicals)
- Ghani Automobile Industries (motorcycles)
- Ittefaq Group (steel)
- Ittehad Chemicals Limited (chemicals)
- Khaadi (hand-woven clothing)
- Madina Sugar Mills (PVT) Limited (sugar)
- Master Motors (truck manufacturer)
- Murree Brewery (beverages)
- Servis Tyres (tire maker)
Searchable List of Pakistan’s Most Valuable Export Products in 2020
At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, the following searchable table displays 100 of the most in-demand goods shipped from Pakistan during 2020. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2019.
|Rank||Pakistan's Export Product||2020 Value (US$)||Change|
|3||Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)||$2,088,121,000||-10.9%|
|4||Yarn (85%+ cotton)||$805,035,000||-25.4%|
|5||Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)||$665,961,000||-26.5%|
|6||Woven cotton fabrics||$623,457,000||+2.9%|
|7||Leather clothing, accessories||$541,831,000||-8.1%|
|8||Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)||$526,405,000||-5.3%|
|9||Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)||$452,101,000||+12.6%|
|10||Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns||$429,926,000||-5.7%|
|11||Men's shirts (knit or crochet)||$414,838,000||-15.9%|
|12||T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)||$406,810,000||-16.6%|
|13||Stockings, hosiery (knit or crochet)||$379,155,000||+7.9%|
|14||Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)||$362,211,000||-11.5%|
|16||Refined copper, unwrought alloys||$321,387,000||+13.3%|
|17||Gloves, mitts (knit or crochet)||$265,365,000||+29.4%|
|19||Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)||$245,694,000||-4.7%|
|20||Woven fabrics (under 85% cotton)||$229,235,000||-21.1%|
|21||Fresh or chilled beef||$224,154,000||+6.6%|
|22||Women's clothing (knit or crochet)||$208,135,000||+18.7%|
|23||Medication mixes in dosage||$206,283,000||+9.4%|
|24||Fresh or dried citrus fruit||$205,442,000||+27.8%|
|28||Whole fish (frozen)||$171,361,000||-48.9%|
|30||Woven fabrics under 85% synthetic staple fibers||$153,562,000||-8.2%|
|32||Woven fabrics (mixed)||$128,401,000||-13.2%|
|33||Onions, garlic, leeks||$125,997,000||+84%|
|34||Camp items including tents, sails||$121,210,000||+66%|
|36||Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$111,126,000||+16.7%|
|38||Crustaceans (including lobsters)||$100,955,000||+1.3%|
|39||Other woven fabrics||$95,155,000||-11.6%|
|40||Electric generating sets, converters||$93,801,000||+6,586%|
|41||Curtains, drapes, blinds||$92,497,000||-0.001%|
|42||Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$85,899,000||+23.7%|
|43||Ginger, saffron, tumeric, thyme, curry, bay leaves||$82,048,000||+10.6%|
|44||Other animal leather||$73,703,000||-26.1%|
|46||Processed petroleum oils||$69,792,000||-43.5%|
|47||Other clothing accessories||$68,566,000||+300.3%|
|49||Sugar confectionery (no cocoa)||$63,924,000||-18.8%|
|50||Women's blouses, shirts (knit/crocheted)||$60,059,000||-27.2%|
|51||Salts, pure sodium chloride||$59,660,000||+20.2%|
|52||Woven fabrics mostly synthetic staple fibers||$57,976,000||-10.2%|
|53||Woven fabrics (high synthetic fibres)||$55,996,000||+10.8%|
|56||Miscellaneous cutlery including cleavers, hair clippers||$55,747,000||+7.2%|
|59||Chromium ores, concentrates||$53,373,000||-23.8%|
|61||Other food preparations||$51,515,000||+63%|
|62||Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)||$50,588,000||+12.8%|
|63||Textile floor coverings including carpets||$50,189,000||-19%|
|64||Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)||$49,593,000||+41.2%|
|65||Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips||$49,501,000||+23.5%|
|66||Infant clothing (knit or crochet)||$46,568,000||-13.6%|
|68||Sheep or goat meat||$44,994,000||+17.2%|
|69||Rags, scrap twine/rope||$44,391,000||+77.4%|
|70||Packing sacks, bags||$43,747,000||-24.5%|
|71||Women's singlets,pyjamas (not knit or crochet)||$43,676,000||+144.8%|
|73||Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries||$40,924,000||+10.2%|
|74||Animal/vegetable hydrogenated fats, oils||$40,755,000||+14.4%|
|75||Solid-form sugars, fructose, glucose, lactose||$40,233,000||+4.6%|
|76||Vegetable saps, extracts||$39,740,000||+1.1%|
|77||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$37,953,000||+2.5%|
|78||Cereal straws, husks||$37,820,000||+13%|
|79||Tracksuits, swimwear (knit or crochet)||$37,293,000||+36.9%|
|80||Blankets, travel rugs||$35,542,000||+3.9%|
|81||Other than warp-knit fabrics||$35,148,000||-3.1%|
|83||Cases, handbags, wallets||$33,241,000||-7.2%|
|84||Yarn (under 85% cotton)||$32,422,000||-25.8%|
|85||Air or vacuum pumps||$31,929,000||-9.7%|
|86||Cellulose fiber paper||$30,940,000||-12.4%|
|87||Ligneous fiberboard including wood||$29,490,000||-7.4%|
|88||Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)||$27,417,000||+8.1%|
|89||Electric storage batteries||$25,734,000||-3.7%|
|90||Synthetic yarn woven fabrics||$25,295,000||-13%|
|92||Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes||$24,932,000||+12.7%|
|93||Inedible meat flour||$24,487,000||-22.6%|
|94||Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste||$24,286,000||+122.7%|
|95||Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products||$24,217,000||+114.6%|
|96||Medication mixes not in dosage||$23,979,000||-0.6%|
|99||Men's coats, jackets (not knit or crochet)||$23,743,000||+23.2%|
|100||Gloves, mitts (unknit/non-crochet)||$22,904,000||-0.3%|
These 100 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$20.2 billion or 90.9% by value for all products exported from Pakistan during 2020.
In macroeconomic terms, Pakistan’s total exported goods represent 2% of its overall Gross Domestic Product for 2020 ($1.11 trillion valued in Purchasing Power Parity US dollars). That 2% for exports to overall GDP per PPP in 2020 compares to 1.7% for 2019. Those metrics suggest a relatively increasing reliance on products sold on international markets for Pakistan’s total economic performance albeit based on a relatively short timeframe.
Another key indicator of a country’s economic performance is its unemployment rate. Pakistan’s average unemployment rate was an estimated 4.4% for 2020 down from an average 4.1% in 2019, according to Trading Economics.
See also Pakistan’s Top Trading Partners, Pakistan’s Top 10 Imports and Top Asian Export Countries
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 19, 2021
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on May 19, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Purchasing power parities (PPP). Accessed on May 19, 2021
Richest Country Reports, Key Statistics Powering Global Wealth. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Wikipedia, Gross domestic product. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Companies of Pakistan. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Wikipedia, Purchasing power parity. Accessed on May 19, 2021
Wikipedia, Pakistan. Accessed on May 19, 2021